• October 9, 2015

Dental implants are truly amazing. We can actually use a small piece of titanium to replace the look, function, and strength of your lost natural teeth! If you have even one dental implant you know how great they are!

But dental implants aren’t without complications! The implants we place at Shorewood Family Dental Care are meant to last a lifetime just like your natural teeth but without proper care they could end up falling out too! One of the greatest risks to your dental implants is tobacco smoking. If you’ve been a smoker for a long time you might have already put your dental implants in jeopardy!

Smoking And Your Oral Health

You probably know that smoking is bad for you. Most smokers have heard it a million times! You know about the risks to your health, but do you know how bad smoking can be for your teeth? If you’ve already lost some it’s quite possible tobacco was a major contributor!

The reason tobacco is so dangerous is because of what it does to the balance of bacteria in your mouth. Normally there’s a mix of harmless and dangerous bacteria in your mouth. Studies of smokers have found that the levels of harmful bacteria in their mouths are much higher than that of non-smokers! When harmful bacteria takes over you end up with very high chances for cavities, gum disease, and peri-implant disease!

Peri-implant disease is a bad condition that can lead to the loss of your dental implants. If caught early it can be treated but it’s important you do everything you can to prevent it!

What Is Peri-Implant Disease?

This implant-destroying illness comes in two forms: peri-implant mucositis and peri-implantitis. Both are quite similar to periodontal disease and have the same outcomes, all of which are bad!

Peri-implant mucositis happens when the harmful bacteria in your mouth gets below the gum line and starts to irritate and infect your gum tissue. When this happens you’ll notice redness, puffiness, bleeding when brushing, and gum recession.

Peri-implant mucositis is easily treated in the same ways we treat gingivitis: better home care habits and a thorough deep cleaning with our periodontal laser. Most patients who receive treatment for peri-implant mucositis make a full recovery.

Peri-implantitis is where things get trickier. At this stage bacteria has started to attack the bone surrounding your dental implants. This results in similar symptoms to peri-implant mucositis with the added problem of bone loss! Your implants will actually lose the bone that supports them. Pretty soon they’ll loosen and fall out completely!

The worst part about peri-implantitis is that it’s so difficult to treat. Without surgical intervention to regrow bone your implants will be lost and they won’t be able to be replaced!

Preventing Peri-Implant Disease And Implant Loss

The most obvious tip is simple: don’t smoke! It can be hard to quit but your teeth and body will thank you. We also recommend practicing more disciplined oral health care at home – brush twice a day and make sure you always floss in the evening.

Your dental implants need to be treated just like real teeth. They might be virtually indestructible but the bones and gums that support them definitely aren’t! Make sure you’re seeing our team at Shorewood Family Dental Care for regular cleanings and exams. It’s an essential part of maintaining a healthy mouth!

You can make an appointment at our Shorewood dentist office by calling us at 815-768-1615 or by filling out our online appointment request form. We look forward to seeing you soon to help you protect your implant investment!